Alcohol craving is often associated with mood symptoms and predicts alcohol use in individuals with alcohol dependence. However, little is known about the impact of mood symptoms on alcohol craving in comorbid mood disorders and alcohol dependence. This study examines the predictive value of depressive and anxiety symptoms for obsessive and compulsive aspects of alcohol craving in adults with comorbid major depressive disorder (MDD) and alcohol dependence.
Materials and Methods:
Fifty-five adults [47% female; mean age of 39.35 (SD=8.80)] with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders-4th edition diagnoses of comorbid MDD and alcohol dependence were prospectively assessed over a 6-month period. They completed the Hamilton Rating Scales for Depression and Anxiety, the Alcohol Timeline Followback, the Obsessive-Compulsive Drinking Scale (OCDS), the Alcohol Dependence Scale (ADS), and the Addiction Severity Index (ASI). The linear mixed model analyses for repeated measures was used to test whether depressive and anxiety symptoms predict OCDS subscale scores.
Depressive and anxiety symptoms were strongly associated with obsessive and compulsive subscales of the OCDS. Baseline ASI-alcohol scores were associated with both the obsessive and compulsive and with the obsessive subscale scores in the predictive model including depressive symptoms, and that including anxiety symptoms, respectively.
Results suggest that depressive and anxiety symptoms predict obsessive and compulsive aspects of alcohol craving in adults with comorbid MDD and alcohol dependence. Assessing the severity of depressive and anxiety symptoms and alcohol use in this population may identify those more likely to experience intense alcohol craving states and at increased risk of relapse.